Kanye West: industry backlash continues as Kim Kardashian speaks out

Antisemitic comments from US rapper have led to the shelving of a finished documentary and major talent agency CAA cutting ties as ex-wife calls hate speech ‘never ok’

A completed documentary about Kanye West, also known as Ye, has been scrapped amid concern and industry backlash over the rapper’s string of antisemitic statements in recent weeks.

“This morning, after discussion with our film-makers and distribution partners, we made the decision not to proceed with any distribution for our recently completed documentary about Kanye West,” the co-leaders of film and television studio MRC – Modi Wiczyk, Asif Satchu and Scott Tenley – wrote in a statement on Monday. “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.”

The company is the latest to cut ties with West after the rapper has publicized antisemitic views first made during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson earlier this month.

The rapper’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, also responded to West’s antisemitic comments without referencing him by name on Monday. In a story posted to her Instagram, Kardashian wrote that hate speech is “never OK” or “excusable.”

“I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end,” she added.

Earlier in the day, several of her family members, including mom Kris Jenner and sisters Khloé Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner, posted their own matching statements in support of Jewish people.

“I support my Jewish friends and the Jewish people,” read the statement, posted to their individual Instagram stories.

The rapper’s longtime talent agency CAA has stopped representing the artist in the past month, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Agency heads Ari Emanuel of Endeavor, Bob Gersh and UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer have all called for Hollywood companies to sever working relationships with West. “We can’t support hate speech, bigotry or antisemitism. Please support the boycott of Kanye West,” Zimmer wrote in a company-wide email.

West tweeted on 8 October that he was going to go “death con 3 on Jewish people,” misusing the military alert term Defcon, and posted that “you guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda,” seemingly in reference to the Jewish people. Twitter removed the posts and suspended West’s account.

West doubled down on his views during an unaired appearance on the talk show The Shop: Uninterrupted, which pulled the episode because West “used The Shop to reiterate more hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotypes,” co-host Maverick Carter told Andscape.

The fashion house Balenciaga also severed tied with West following an appearance last week on the Drink Champs podcast. During the 45-minute conversation, West floated a litany of antisemitic conspiracy theories and claimed George Floyd was not killed by Minneapolis police but instead died of a fentanyl overdose. Floyd’s daughter Roxie Washington has since filed a $250m lawsuit against West for defamation.

Pressure has mounted on sportswear company Adidas to also separate from West, which had already put their business relationship with West “under review” following his appearance in a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt during Paris fashion seek. West then told the Drink Champs podcast: “I can literally say antisemitic shit, and they can’t drop me … I can say antisemitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what?”

The comments prompted the Anti-Defamation League to publicly call on Adidas to end its business with West: “In light of Kanye West’s increasingly strident antisemitic remarks over the past few weeks, we were disturbed to learn that Adidas plans to continue to release new products from his Yeezy brand without any seeming acknowledgment of the controversy surrounding his most recent remarks,” a statement said.

“We urge Adidas to reconsider supporting the Ye product line and to issue a statement making clear that the Adidas company and community has no tolerance whatsoever for antisemitism.”

Over the weekend, several Los Angeles city officials condemned demonstrations in support of West’s antisemitic comments, in which a small group of people made the Nazi salute by a freeway and held signs encouraging drivers to “honk if you know” alongside “Kanye is right about the Jews”.

“We condemn this weekend’s antisemitic incidents,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted. “Jewish Angelenos should always feel safe. There is no place for discrimination or prejudice in Los Angeles. And we will never back down from the fight to expose and eliminate it.”


Adrian Horton

The GuardianTramp

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